We all know there is a huge stigma around therapy especially among African Americans. Mental health issues are so taboo and talking about it is seen as a sign of weakness in our community. But, mental health isn’t about being weak, crazy or “just not right in the head.” Sometimes we have a lot things going on in our lives and just need some help sorting it out. And let’s face it, we all have issues.
If you remember, I started Tiarra Talks because I needed to figure out who am I as a woman and not as a wife and mother. I needed something for me; I needed to find my voice…my purpose, and even though blogging is therapeutic, it wasn’t enough. So, my cousin/mentor suggested I see a therapist, and not just any therapist, but an African American female therapist. You see, if you’re going to seek help from a therapist, then I recommend you talk to someone who not only looks like you but understands your circumstances. That’s very important! Who else can understand the plight of Black woman better than another black woman? (This is not the rule but a strong suggestion).
Therapy helped me to understand why I am the woman I am. The insight I gained about myself was overwhelming. It wasn’t about laying on a couch with a box of tissue with my therapist behind me taking notes. In fact, there wasn’t a couch (just a couple of chairs), and there was no crying! (If you know me, then you know I am an absolute crybaby, so it was strange that I never cried in therapy…very strange). Her office was tranquil and inviting. She made me feel very comfortable, but she was very real & down-to-earth. There was no sugar-coating with her, and I appreciated that. Yes, we talked about things that I thought I had buried way back in my personal memory vault a long time ago, but it was a necessary evil in order to understand how I got to the place I was in.
It was about understanding the foundation first so that I could see myself today with a clearer picture. And honestly, there were times where my therapist talked more than I did, but her relatability helped me see a different perspective on similar experiences we shared. Not only did therapy help me to better understand myself, it also helped me to better understand the people closest to me. Now, I understand why my husband and I chose each other, and it has everything to do with who were as children and how we grew up. Everything comes back to the beginning! It also explains why I often have to clean up after him. . . sorry husband.
So, let’s talk. Have you ever attended therapy? Was it helpful? Or have you wanted to attend therapy but didn’t because of the stigma or fear of judgment?
Listen, there was so much inner peace gained from my therapy sessions. Really getting to know myself has boosted my confidence and my self-love tremendously. Oh, and the clarity! Sometimes you just need a listening ear from an unbiased person who can offer a different perspective and maybe a little peace of mind.
Now, if your therapist isn’t the right fit for you, I absolutely recommend finding someone who is because you want to feel comfortable sharing intimate & personal details of your life with them regardless of their race or gender. And, if you worried about cost, your employer usually has an employee assistance program that can help you get started free of charge for at least your initial session. Therapy is also covered under most insurance plans. Don’t be afraid to seek help because of what someone else may think or say. . .they probably need therapy too!
It’s important to note that therapy requires an open mind and an open heart. You have to be honest with yourself and your therapist to benefit from this process. So be ready to let your guard down because after vulnerability comes healing!